October 2005

Today is Halloween. Because it was raining this morning, I showed up in my long coat and my Indiana Jones hat. It's so much easier than carrying a stupid umbrella that blows around all over the place. I look a bit like some kind of cowboy in that getup; I've had people ask me where my six-gun is. So I get to work and one woman (who is fairly new) said “Oh look. It's Indiana Jones! You're about the last guy I would have expected to dress up today!” Then I had to break it to her that this was no costume.

She was slightly embarrassed but I'm wondering if I should be embarrassed from wearing something that could be construed as a Halloween costume.

I love that hat though; too bad it's so old that it's starting to smell like a wet dog.


Well, Evan's latest girlfriend has become part of the picture enough that this weekend we went and picked her up to take her with us as we went to another marching band competition. Evan had to show up early in the morning but the finals weren't until in the evening so we begged off in order to stay home and do Saturday stuff.

At about 6:00 we picked her up which seemed weird to me since Evan was not along with us. I was worried about making conversation and having her think of us as totally boring people. I didn't want to reflect poorly on Evan or anything. This is of course wasted worrying since we have both Melissa and Erin who are both masters of conversation. With them along, the GF was just another woman in the car and we were able to chat and get along famously for the five hours or so that we sat huddled in the cold wind sitting on the aluminum benches of the stadium. (Next time, I'm paying the extra $2.00 for the reserved seats with seatbacks and plastic bottoms – Mel can sit and freeze by herself.)

I halfway expected her to get up and seek out one of her friends or something but she never left our sides. Most impressive. Plus it gave me one less thing to worry about although I can never personally think of anything to say to her so she likely thinks I'm unfriendly. One of these days, I'll think of something to talk to her about.

The contest itself played out strangely. All the bands did their thing and Broken Arrow cleaned up all the special prizes as well as first place. But Evan reported that everybody was extremely upset with their performance. “We sucked” was the basic idea. I'm not sure what part of first place constituted the sucking. But they felt strongly enough about it that they stayed on the field after the whole thing was over and after all spectators had gone, (except parents), they did the routine again just to prove to themselves that they could do it. After that they felt proud enough of themselves to migrate over to the school cafeteria and have cake. They must have had enough a-priori confidence in themselves to have bought the cakes a week in advance.

From my point of view, this was at about midnight. I was ready to drop off the GF at her house and go to bed and when the contest ends at 11:00, I start to get impatient. We take church pretty seriously and don't stay in bed just because we happened to stay out too late so I was ready to go but the cake party made us wait till about 1:00 to get in bed. I could have done without that.

Still, it was a successful event I'd say. Hopefully the GF doesn't find us to be the dorkiest family she has ever encountered or if she does, she has the good taste not to broadcast it. Either way, we win.

I stopped at a convenience store months ago and they were selling little 1 oz bottles of an energy drink called “WhoopAss”. Well, that was just too good to pass up. I bought one immediately. The label says: “Caution: Tastes nasty. works great.” It also advertises to “revitalize attitude and restore faith in mankind.” Finally, I decided to open it and taste it.

Traiminic. Or Robitussin. That's what it tastes like. Cough syrup.

Well, now I know. And it didn't restore my faith in mankind either but it was only the small dosage – perhaps if I drank the 12 oz can, it would have more effect.

There are not one but several people where I work who can't seem to understand that I occasionally want to be left alone – such as when I'm trying to have lunch.

I've first tried just continueing to eat. That doesn't work, they keep talking to me and asking me for things. I've tried eating in the kitchen area. Same thing. Plus I get comments on what I'm eating. I don't typically know what's actually in the dishes I bring from home but the questions keep coming: “is that oregano or basil?” and other such stuff.

I've tried to look like I'm working hard – coupled with some inciteful comments to my distractors such as: “I'm really swamped right now – I've got to get this done.” You'd think that would put an end to it but not necessarily.

I've even gone so far as to get up with my lunch and walk around trying to evade my little “fan club” but, amazingly, that doesn't work as effectively as you'd think.

I guess that I'm going to have to actually be rude and say:

“Would you stop bothering me while I'm eating?”

or perhaps:

“I don't know what the hell is in my food and I've never known. When are you going to stop asking me?”.

or the thermonuclear manners bomb:


What a world, what a world… How did I stumble into such a place?

Well, my bright idea to market soap scum as a product to protect bathroom tile seems to be going nowhere but that's only because I have no marketing savvy. Somebody decided that they could make us want (and pay for) coffee at $3.00 a cup when you can often get it for free at the hardware store or barber shop on Saturday morning; I need that guy to help me market my soap scum protectant idea.

But in the meantime, I finally found something to remove it. I'm not talking about some weany dirt that scrubbing bubbles can take care of; I'm talking about an archeological phenomenon left over by the home's previous owners. The solution: The Scour Stick. I found it at Home Depot and appears to be nothing more than a pumice-like thing that you scrub around on your dirty things and it abrades the gunk away. It will also abrade away some of your precious shiny surfaces too but desperate times call for desperate measures – and a light touch helps too. But it works well. The stuff it's made of reminds me of a grinding wheel but much more loosely made so that as you scrub, grains of it come off and constantly expose fresh abrasive so it never gets clogged with gunk although it does wear away pretty fast.

Now I can take all the money I will save on cleaners in the future and spend it on toys like iPods, power tools. Now there's “guy” logic for you.

I almost forgot to mention what Mel and I did while the kids were out of town. Big kid stuff!

We went to see a chick-flick which is what I get for letting her pick the movie. It was OK though. Can't remember the name of it though. Then dinner out. Actually we ate out twice! Real restaurants! I also paid bills – yet another reason that being an adult kind of sucks.

She cleaned out Erin's frightenly nasty closet. I build a full-extension drawer for the pantry so we can get to that stuff way at the back that gets lost forever. I made the drawer but it isn't installed yet – I need to get a coat of finish on it. I guess I do – it would probably be fine without it.

Ah Ha! “In Her Shoes” was the movie. Kinda long though.

I went to the optometrist yesterday. I like the optometrist. He doesn't poke, prod, penetrate, or scrape anything. You just sit in the chair and he asks you your opinion:

“Which looks better? This one or this one?”

And there's no wrong answer. In the end, you walk out being better immediately – you don't have to wait for something to take effect.

Plus, if you do it right, you can look cool as you leave. But for this, I rely on the “frame stylist”. It's easy for me; I just tell her that I have a disability. That is that I have no fashion sense at all and I place myself in her hands. Please, make me look good. Of course, with my fashion sense, it isn't clear to me if she does as I request or not since, as I said before, I can't really tell.

I'm not the only one. One of the programmers at work went to the optometrist recently and came back looking positively ludicrous. He looked like he was wearing safety goggles. When my reading glasses get back, I hope that some other random blogger doesn't see me and write the same thing. But whatever happens, at least I'll be able to read better.

It turns out that the doc and I both have a son in the Pride of Broken Arrow. We also chatted about optometry as a career which was very interesting. I must have stayed there for two hours between the exam, the talking, and the frame styling. But nobody seemed to be waiting. He shared the fascinating fact that dentists have the highest suicide rate of all the medical professions. I would have thought that oncologists would share that distinction since most of there patients die but apparently not. Perhaps it's that nobody likes dentists. His friend the dentist down the street (not my dentist apparently) told him (I guess this was at the secret doctor's club where they all gather to count their money) that he (the dentist) only works four days a week because he just can't stand to work five from all the stress.

I think I'll encourage my kids to be optometrists. It looks like a good-paying, low stress job where you get to sit inside in the air conditioning all day and people respect you.

*update* They arrived and the spectacles have passed a litmus test of sorts in that they look very similar to the ones that Evan's girlfriend wears. We discovered this when she came over the other night. So, I'm not sure if I am now cooler or if she's rethinking her choice in eyewear for fear of uncoolness. Time will tell.

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